Pets are family, so it’s only natural to want to share your travel experiences with your best furry companion. Since camping is a dog-friendly activity, it’s become a top vacation choice for pet parents across the country. Thankfully, there are many spectacular campgrounds that happily accept both dogs and humans. If you’re planning an outdoor getaway with your pup, here are the five best camping places for pets in the U.S.
1. Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado
Composed of three reservoirs on the Gunnison River in Gunnison, CO, the Curecanti National Recreation Area is home to breathtaking scenery, fun water activities, and plenty of hiking. The pet-friendly destination allows dogs at all 10 campsites and on all trails as long as they’re on a leash. The biggest problem you’ll come up against here is choosing which trail is right for your furry friend.
Up for a challenge? Take on Hermit’s Rest. The intense six-mile hike takes around three hours to complete, but you have the option to only make half the trek at a time by camping waterside. Hermit’s Rest offers a campground as well as picnic area right next to the Morrow Point Reservoir. If your pup loves to exercise and play in the water, it’s an excellent spot to choose.
For a more easy-going adventure, hit up the Neversink trail on the east side for some peace and quiet. It’s located right off the Stevens Creek campground. Or, opt for a mid-level trek on the Dillon Pinnacles trail. It’s easy to access the trail from the East Elk Creek campground, which is also the only option with on-site electric. Additionally, if you plan on visiting some human-only attractions in the area, book a spot for your pup at one of the six doggy daycare and boarding options located nearby.
2. Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort in Massachusetts
Located in Foxborough, MA, the Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort offers a more luxurious camping option for pet owners. Dating back to 1971, guests can opt for traditional tents or boost their comfort-level with cabin, yurt, safari tents, and pop-up rentals. Just be sure to request a pet-friendly unit when making your reservation.
While human guests have a variety of activity options, like yoga, swimming, and disc golf, the wide variety of dog-focused fun makes it one of the best camping places for pets in the country. The campground offers a fenced 1.5-acre dog park with a dog wash as well as daytime kennels, dog walkers, and potty break services. Leashed pets are also allowed on the hiking trails at nearby Foxboro State Forest.
3. Smoky Mountains National Park
Covering over 500,000 acres in North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountain range is one of the most majestic locations in the U.S. Fortunately, visitors are able to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the land at one of the Smokey Mountains National Park’s many campgrounds. While backcountry campsites are restricted to human guests, the 10 front country camping spots welcome leashed pets year-round.
The park is home to a large population of black bears and coyotes. For that reason, there are fairly strict rules regarding where pets are allowed outside of campsites. Fortunately, there are two pet-friendly walking trails available: the Gatlinburg Trail (Tennessee side) and the Oconaluftee River Trail (North Carolina side). Both options are mostly flat with fantastic views of the river. If one of the more strenuous hiking trails is calling your name, let Fido relax at one the many short-term pet-lodging options in Gatlinburg, TN, and Cherokee, NC.
4. Casini Ranch Family Campground in California
Since 1965, the Casini Ranch Family Campground in Duncans Mills, CA, has been a popular spot for guests of all ages and their furry friends. The Sonoma County destination offers 110 acres of wonderful wilderness for you and your pet to explore. After setting up your tent, head to one of the two off-leash dog parks for a run. Or, take a hike to the banks of the Russian River for a swim. The campground also has numerous activities for visitors, like ice cream socials and movie nights.
5. Acadia National Park in Maine
From lakes and rocky beaches to woodlands and mountainous peaks, Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine offers spectacular views and adventure. While a few of the trails are restricted to humans only, like Sand Beach and the Wild Gardens of Acadia, the park is largely pet-friendly. Dogs are even allowed on the beloved Isle au Haut for day hikes. When it comes to pitching a tent, all three of the main campgrounds — Backwoods, Schoodic Woods, and Seawall — welcome leashed dogs with open arms.
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